Robredo to shift toward 'smart' infrastructure to regain pre-pandemic economic growth

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo intends to shift away from the "costly Build, Build, Build" program of the current administration to build "smarter" infrastructure supporting emerging industries in the country if she succeeds in her 2022 bid.

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP)

Robredo emphasized that the coronavirus pandemic has shown that traditional infrastructure "is not sufficient to make the economy resilient" thus she plans to veer away from the massive infrastructure program of the Duterte administration.

"We will shift away from the largely urban, transport-oriented, and costly “build-build-build” emphasis of the current administration. We will build smarter—putting greater emphasis on building and expanding infrastructure to support our current and emerging communities and industries," she said when asked to bare her "catch-up strategy" to regain the Philippines' pre-pandemic economic growth at the Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) on Thursday, Nov. 18.

"For example, providing greater access and infrastructure support to digitization will benefit not only the IT and BPO sector, but other industries as well," the vice president added.

To catch up with Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of economic growth, Robredo said she will invest in next-level infrastructure that will help local industries compete, cope with the pandemic, and become innovative.

"With special attention to SMSEs and agriculture, this includes providing greater access to digitization; upgrading the country’s logistics industry and the maritime sector; lowering energy costs, providing a roadmap towards a more sustainable energy source and in compliance with our international commitments; supporting private firms and social enterprises that provide institutional links between small-holder agriculture and large domestic institutional buyers and foreign markets; incentivizing innovation; and extending credit to SMEs to allow them to physically reconfigure their business establishments to better cope with the changes brought about by the pandemic," Robredo stressed.

This, she said, will address the hesitancy among companies in investing in the country triggered by high power rates, slow communications, and poor facilities.

The presidential aspirant also intends to invest in human capital "to unlock the potential of our emerging workforce."

She said she will improve the quality of education and ensure that graduating senior high school students are employable. "We will provide trainings to upskill the current workforce in preparation for the shift to digitization," she added.